Teens Applying for Jobs: How to Look Professional

There are numerous opportunities in today’s job market for young people. In fact, the labor shortage in recent years led to 372,000 job openings in June 2022 alone.

An article on WBUR reported that several industries have anticipated high-schoolers and college students would help to cool off the job market. If you’re among the many teens searching for a job, you should take note of a few things to land your desired opportunity.

Between composing the perfect cover letter and observing the proper interview etiquette, it takes a little preparation to secure the job. Below, we’ve listed four ways to help you look and stay professional throughout your job search.

Have a cover letter alongside your resume

First impressions are crucial. But when it’s your first time job hunting, it can be stressful not knowing where to start. While creating a sound resume is a good starting point, your resume should include an email cover letter.

A cover letter can communicate to your potential employer why you’re an excellent fit for the role, especially if you don’t have much work experience. LHH has also listed several pieces of information you should include in your cover letter.

For one, state the position you’re applying for in both the subject line and body of your letter. You can then discuss how you found the job posting and summarize your strengths and skills. This doesn’t have to be related to formal work experience, as you can simply share your extracurricular activities or hobbies.

Finally, we recommend making the reading experience as easy as possible. This can be done by using a large font, proofreading for possible typos, and including all necessary contact information.

Conduct the necessary research

interviewing for a job as a teen

Once your cover letter and resume are sorted out, your next task is conducting more in-depth research. Understanding a company’s history and values can help boost your confidence during an interview.

For example, if you have friends who have worked at a fast food chain you’re applying to, ask them for insights on the work environment. Otherwise, check if the company has a website and read through their “About” page or blog posts.

You can also look through their social media to view the company’s latest news or offerings. If you’re interested in applying for a clothing store, see if they’re releasing a new seasonal collection. This way, you can drop this information during your interview and demonstrate your awareness of the company.

Prepare for common interview questions

Being knowledgeable about the company is one thing, but it’s equally important to prepare for common questions that’ll be asked during your interview.

Typically, employers will prompt you to tell them about yourself. If you have no work experience, you might worry you have nothing to offer an employer but that’s not the end of the world – it’s also expected that teenagers won’t have a ton of job experience yet.

Still, don’t be afraid to narrate your interests and successes inside and outside school. A lot of employers will appreciate your determination and potential.

Specifically, discuss the leadership roles you’ve assumed at clubs or volunteer programs. Our post on how to apply for jobs with no work experience mentioned that this is a great chance to highlight your accomplishments and duties.

When it’s time to discuss strengths and weaknesses, give concrete examples. You can cite your multiple extracurricular activities to express that you’re enthusiastic and flexible across different kinds of work.

Utilize social network sites

If you have a public social media account, you might want to clean it up in case your future employer looks you up online. Studies on online job searching explain how professional networking has now expanded to social networking sites.

Ask yourself if there’s anything on your social media profile that you wouldn’t really want someone looking at right before interviewing you for a job.

These days, your social media account is almost like a secondary resume in a sense. If you’re applying for a job or an internship in graphic design, for example, you probably already have some examples of design and art you’ve created on your profile.